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OUTDOOR
By 28 May 2014 | Categories: Outdoor

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The latest precious real estate is your wrist, with more and more companies racing for their device to secure a spot on your arm. Bringing something a little different to the mix are these activity orientated watches that include GPS functionality, all claiming in their own way to enhance your sport and training regimes.

Polar V800

Billed as a training companion, the V800 not only offers integrated GPS, it also enables you to see your heart rate (with strap) when swimming as well as when training on land. Catering particularly to triathletes, the device offers up customisable profiles for the expected - running, cycling and swimming, along with skiing. Really impressing us though is the rechargeable device’s stated battery life - fourteen hours of training time, 50 hours in low power GPS mode, or 30 days in time mode with 24/7 activity monitoring. Available from this month for $400 (R4 000).

TomTom Multi-Sport Cardio

TomTom’s latest is its second foray (third if you include the Nike+ collaboration) into the world of sport tracking. The big deal on this watch? No more chest-straps needed to monitor your heart-rate - the Multi-Sport Cardio does it via a built-in sensor that checks blood-flow in your wrist. With five heart-rate based training zones, the watch can help with endurance, fat-burning and speed training. The Multi-Sport Cardio further displays your speed, distance and calories burned. Cycling, and indoor and outdoor running are catered for, while swimmers can view their strokes, lengths, distance and speed while training. It’s debuting Stateside for a rather reasonable $250 (R2 500).

Garmin Fenix 2

The multi-sport watch to beat may just be the new Fenix 2 from Garmin, which is exceptionally full featured. It caters for a variety of activities including running, climbing, riding, hiking, paddling, skiing and swimming, with detailed information for each activity. For example, users can specify the length of their swimming pool before beginning a workout, while Ski-Board mode puts speed, distance, vertical drop data front and centre.

What’s more, it tracks your distance, pace and heart rate, calculates recovery time and maximum oxygen consumption (VO2 max) estimate when used with a heart rate monitor. As if that wasn’t enough, it then brings GPS positioning, 3-axis compass with altimeter and barometer to the mix as well. R5 800 for the watch, R6 500 with heart rate monitor.

Adidas miCoach Smart Run

It should come as little surprise to find an offering from Adidas on our list, but where the miCoach Smart Run differentiates itself from the competition, is that it focuses in on one activity, namely running. To start with, the watch boasts a strap-free heart-rate sensor, a boon for those who find the usual chest band distracting, and of course GPS-based speed, distance, cadence and route information. The Smart Run further offers customisable training data screens and lives up to its name with real-time cardio coaching. Also onboard is 4 GB of storage and a music player, although the wireless headset to this end is an optional extra. RRP: R5 000.

Casio G-Shock GPW 1000

Last, but certainly not least, entering in the category of ‘And now for something a little different’ is Casio’s latest. While it’s not strictly a sports watch like the others mentioned in this list, it does bring a few interesting tech developments to the watch scene. These include the ability to synchronise using GPS and atomic clock radio signals – Casio’s first watch that synchronises both of these. This apparently enables the watch to keep accurate time from anywhere in the world, not a bad feature at all, especially when you cross multiple time zones regularly. As it is still a concept model, the price and availability has not yet been detailed.

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